James DiBiase Photographer
Tel. 01273 566686
Mob. 07840 127319
The first thing tourists see when they exit Newhaven harbour is a poster entreating them to 'Visit Historic Rottingdean'. It's an ill omen when even a town's own harbour encourages visitors to go elsewhere. And it's true: Newhaven does not have a reputation for being a place of beauty. Most people who visit the Sussex coast will gravitate towards the dynamic effervescence of Brighton, the regency splendour of Eastbourne or even the quaint beauty of Rottingdean.

Websites promoting this part of England gently describe Newhaven as "somewhat unattractive" or less enthusiastically as "an eyesore". This perception has meant that Newhaven in the passing years has been the target of conflicting ambitions. On one hand, there is a recognised need to regenerate the town's economy. On the other, some deem the heart of the town a suitable location for an incinerator intended to dispose of the rest of the region's waste.

As a photographer I wanted to get underneath the town's gritty exterior and discover those aspects so easily overlooked. I went seeking a community in all its diversity. In revealing the town's social behaviour I felt I could capture its true character. Thus, over the past nine months, I have engaged in Newhaven's weekly, monthly and even annual calendar by visiting its numerous clubs, societies and institutions. I endeavoured to reach out to people of all ages and physical abilities. I sought the routine as well as the celebratory, the commonplace as well as the unusual.

In doing this I have found a community with strong feelings for its town, how it's perceived and its true nature. In the people I have found passion, strength and faith for the town's past, present and future.